Monitoring at MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown, MA

Monitoring at MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown, MA
Marine Invasive Species (MIS) Monitoring at MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown, MA.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cape Cod Bay Monitoring News

PCCS Releases It's Cape Cod Bay Report

The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies announced the release of its report, entitled "How is Our Bay? Five Years of Environmental Monitoring of Cape Cod Bay" by Amy Costa and Pat Hughes, on the five-year (2006-2010) analysis of water quality in Cape Cod Bay,   

Initiated back in 2006, the Cape Cod Bay Monitoring Program focused on the environmental status of the Bay.  Staff scientists and volunteer monitors measured several parameters including temperature, oxygen, chlorophyll, nitrogen, phosphorus, and turbidity.  An excess of nitrogen and phosphorous leads to eutrophication of the Bay, which manifests itself by an increase in algae which can be measured by the presence of chlorophyll a.   Eutrophication can lead to a decrease in dissolved oxygen which adversely affects marine life.  Turbidity reflects the amount of suspended solids in the water, i.e., the overall clarity, that might be the result of coastal erosion, runoff, waste discharge, or plankton.  Increases in turbidity can impede light penetration which is important to submerged vegetation like eelgrasses.  Monitoring these parameters over the 5-year study will provided data that may be used to assess water quality conditions of the Bay on a continuing basis.

The PCCS also monitored specific ecological niches such as the eelgrass habitat and harbors.  Eelgrass beds act as a refuge for juvenile fish and shellfish, many of which are commercially important species in the region. Diversity and abundance of marine life is greater in areas that support healthy eelgrass, yet eelgrass beds are quite sensitive to disturbance and pollution.  They are also easy to monitor by aerial photography and, therefore, are an ideal habitat to monitor the overall health of the Bay ecosystem. Eelgrass study sites included Plymouth (2 sites), Eastham Flats, Jeremy Point (outside Wellfleet Harbor), and Provincetown.

The PCCS also monitored harbors around the Bay for marine invasive species.  In 2007, the PCCS joined the ongoing Massachusetts statewide CZM marine invasive species monitoring program and reported findings from monitored sites in Sesuit Harbor, Rock Harbor, Wellfleet Marina, Pamet Harbor, and Provincetown.  
 Cape Cod Bay Monitoring Stations
Monitoring Stations along the coastline include (from west to east) Pymouth Harbor / Duxbury Bay, Sandwich Harbor, Barnstable Harbor, Sesuit Harbor, Rock Harbor, Wellfleet Harbor, Pamet Harbor, and Provincetown Harbor.  Several offshore sites were also analyzed in the Bay and Nantucket Sound.  
Report LINK:  Costa, A, and P Hughes. How is Our Bay?  Five Years of Environmental Monitoring of Cape Cod Bay.  Available as a hard copy and at the PCCS coastalstudies website.

State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference

Around the same time, Wellfleet hosted a conference on the state of Wellfleet Harbor, which was held on November 3rd, 2012.  Some of the topics included are a summary of 10 years of terrapin (turtle) studies, shoreline change in Wellfleet Harbor, shellfish habitat assessment, horseshoe crab management, and understanding the mass strandings of dolphins.  The 10th Annual Conference, November, 3, 2012.
Wellfleet Harbor viewed from the east end of the Marina looking south-west toward Great Island.
Three Bays Preservation: Live Water Quality Monitoring Program.  Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference: Program of speakers and presentations.  
Diagram of the Study Site from the Oyster Propagation Project Webpage.
Photograph of the Spawning Study Area taken at the Exhibit on the North Side of Wellfleet Marina (see sidebar for a photo of the whole exhibit map)
Friends of Herring River: Information about the restoration of the Herring River in Wellfleet.
Association to Preserve Cape Cod:  Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project